Merry Christmas And Thanks For Another Year

Happy Birthday to He who made all birthdays possible.
Now we can’t say that the best of the best and the brightest of the brightest blog readers stop by here on a regular basis, because that would be immodest of us.

We can’t say it. But we can sure hint it.

Might have something to do with the character of our crowd. The Reader Survey (if you’ve already voted, don’t vote again) shows that we’re a bunch of men with most of us north of fifty. Plenty of engineers and science types mostly from the civilian and not academic end, with roughly one-third of you not (yet) celebrating the same birthday the majority of us celebrate today.

Maybe the best news is that a big chunk of you guys are gluttons for punishment, as the saying goes, and have been visiting for many years. Whenever I think of it, like Old Lodgeskins, my heart soars like a hawk.

If I were any better at organization, I’d thank individually each of the Guest Posters who contributed throughout this last year. There’s been quite a few—but I didn’t keep track (terrible, terrible; mea maxima culpa). If you have ideas for your own post, use the Contact Page to shoot me a message.

Thanks too for the many donations! You guys have been extremely generous and have huge hearts. Like I say in the sidebar, since I’m an independent and have no grants or salary or other usual academic ways of scoring reading material, I use this money for books. I buy far too many. But I don’t plan on stopping.

The comments have been terrific as always. They are consistently miles above the, um, let us call them, more public sites. And this is so even when we disagree with one another, which is pretty much all the time. Oh, if you’re new here don’t let the old timers intimidate you and keep you from jumping in. They’re harmless. Everybody is welcome.

Hello and thanks to all the folks coming in from BigPulpit, Watts Up With That, Climate Audit, Nathional Catholic Register, Climate Depot, the TOF Spot, Ed Feser, Small Dead Animals, Judith Curry, American Digest, Jerry Pournelle, Shadow to Light, those from Twitter, and all the rest that link in regularly.

Most of all, thanks for reading. I mean it. I never would have guessed a blog based on an obscure bloodless topic would get as much interest as it has, and for so long. Traffic has been slowly but very steadily increasing. I remember (after the second year) when I was thrilled to see 400 people a day. It’s six times that now. We’re up to about 70,000 visitors a month (on average).

Like I’ve mentioned before, I think more people read one these posts than all the people who have read any of the “official” papers I’ve ever written. If you have requests about topics to cover more of, leave them below or send emails. Are we done with global warming? Probably not.

In a week’s time we’ll do our annual predictions post. So start thinking of what’s going to happen now.

Happy Birthday, Jesus. Thanks for all the presents (even though it should be the other way around). We’re all not always doing the best we can, but when we don’t, we feel bad about it.

That’s it! Go and sin no more.

22 Comments

  1. Jesus “made all birthdays possible?” Really? Even the ones before O AD? Did he time travel to do that?

    And people think that climate skeptics believe six impossible things before breakfast? We’ve got nothing on people who seriously believe they’ve got an invisible pal who likes nothing better than to be told 24/7 just how fantastic and wonderful he is … and who will occasionally, if asked properly, suspend the laws of physics in their behalf. You’ve got to work up to believing whoppers like that, you can’t be an amateur like myself, you need professional training to swallow that whole.

    Now don’t get me wrong. I wish everyone peace and joy this Christmas … but flogging anti-scientific nonsense like “He made all birthdays possible” on a scientific site like this is … well … less than scientific. Not to mention that it is roundly insulting to Buddhists, Sikhs, Hindudes, and all the rest of the people like myself who don’t share your charmingly childish beliefs regarding your invisible friend and his time-traveling abilities.

    But no matter, I best Xmas wishes to all mankind nonetheless, credulous or not …

    w.

  2. I wish some who speak of their worldly experience while denigrating religion, study His word at least half as much as they spout their wisdom.
    Jesus was the son of God through Mary. As a man, with human inheritance through Mary, He fought temptation throughout His life on earth facing the immense evils of the time. The last temptation was to save His own life. His death glorified His human as he returned into God and provided to us a divine human face for humanity to recognize and worship because of His words preached while on earth. To naysayers I say: “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer”. We must learn to recognize both our external and internal (spiritual) qualities.

  3. Willis.
    Read Nicene Creed -it is on the internet.

    “God of God Light of light” and “before all worlds ” etc

    of course he made all birthdays possible even yours.

    This the orthodox and Orthodox faith. Penty of Eastern Orthodox sites as as well as Roman Catholic Sites which will explain.

    Christmas Greetings from an
    old female climate sceptic and former archaeology student in the dear dead days beyond recall.

  4. Thank-you Matt and everyone for a very interesting, educational, and often amusing blog site.

    I am lucky, I am not caught up in a blizzard, or flood, or any other calamity. My heating and electricity still are functional, I’ve more than enough food and some interesting people to keep me company. I am truly one of the lucky ones.

    Happy Christmas to all.

  5. Willis, it’s too bad you don’t take the same approach to understanding religious faith that you do to understanding nature. I don’t know what gets you so angry as to say silly things about what you don’t understand, but you might consider releasing what appears to be a mighty bitterness. Anger impedes understanding and so diminishes a man.

  6. Willis,

    Even an ardent, atheist adherent to quantum mechanics could not deny with apodictict certainty that, indeed, Jesus did all that your first paragraph assumes He did not.

  7. Lest my previous post veil my heart: I am an unabashed Christian, believing the Bible true in all aspects.

  8. M E Wood on 25 December 2013 at 3:08 pm said:

    Willis.Read Nicene Creed -it is on the internet.

    “God of God Light of light” and “before all worlds ” etc

    of course he made all birthdays possible even yours.

    Thanks, M E. There appears to be some confusion. I thought Mr. Briggs was speaking of the birthday of Jesus, who Mr. Briggs says above made all birthdays possible.

    Now you say Mr. Briggs was mistaken, that it was actually God who was here before all worlds who made all the birthdays possible.

    I do wish you folks would hash these doctrinal matters out between you first before imposing them on an uncaring world … but then Xtians have never been very good regarding agreeing with each other on questions of faith.

    But please, settle it out w/Mr. Briggs, and let me know who wins the “I made all the birthdays possible” prize, God or Jesus.

    Finally, my best Christmas wishes to both you and Mr. Briggs, and everyone else. The man had a radical idea—love both your neighbors and your enemies. And despite humanity’s best efforts to corrupt that idea, it has survived for two millennia. I’ll celebrate that on his birthday, whether or not he’s responsible for Plato’s birth …

    All the best,

    w.

  9. Willis,

    You remind us that scientism’s biggest conceit is to say that whenever there is God there is no science, and wherever there is science there is no God. Yet from where does the existence which science is so anxious to measure arise?

    More on this in the coming year.

  10. Gary on 25 December 2013 at 11:04 pm said:

    Willis, it’s too bad you don’t take the same approach to understanding religious faith that you do to understanding nature. I don’t know what gets you so angry as to say silly things about what you don’t understand, but you might consider releasing what appears to be a mighty bitterness. Anger impedes understanding and so diminishes a man.

    Thanks, Gary. However, as with everyone, I must ask that if you disagree with me you quote my words, and then tell me exactly where I went wrong.

    As it stands, you are merely claiming (without providing even a scrap of evidence) that I’m either angry or bitter … neither of which make me wrong, by the way. But as it turns out, actually, I’m neither one. I’m amused and bemused by people’s beliefs. I find Xtians quite funny, but then I find our human foibles quite risible on all levels and by all folks … including myself.

    So … what did I say that is not true, Gary? That people think God wants to be told, day after day, week after week, that he is glorious and wonderful and omnipotent and a roaring success? That people think that God wants to be thanked for everything we agree with or like? That people think that God might bend the laws of physics for them if they ask with a pure heart?

    All of those things are undeniably true. People spend stacks of time alternately glorifying God week after endless week, thanking him for things like the beautiful sunrise and the fruit in the trees … and then asking Him to give them everything from a new watch to a major death-defying miracle, like he’s Santa on steroids … go figure.

    Me, I can’t see Mr. Ruler Of The Universe wanting me to tell him every day that he’s such a way wonderful dude, and desiring that I continually be thanking him for carrots and rainbows. If he wants that kind of 24/7 adulation, he’s one mondo sick puppy of a Ruler, and he’s asking the wrong boy. I’m not interested.

    But hey, if you think God wants everyone to be his adoring fans and his facebook friends, if you think he wants us to be his BFF and spend a good chuck of time every day glorifying his irreproachable majestic megacosmic transcendental awesomeness morning and night, if you think there was a man named Jesus who could travel back in time and make all the birthdays possible before he was even born… well, go for it.

    All I can do is stand back and marvel at what people can believe and yet they still can be excellent scientists.

    Now, I differentiate what people believe from the teachings of the host of spiritual leaders and teachers, many of whom have said very similar things … which most humans (including myself) have mostly ignored.

    And I differentiate both what the teachers said and what people believe from the actual benefits that people accrue from being adherents of the various religions. Those must be real benefits, or else the religions would have died out long ago.

    But the benefits of the religions are often only tangentially connected to the beliefs and the dogmas of the religion. Or the benefits may mostly flow from a few of the beliefs and practices, with much of the rest being essentially window dressing.

    It’s a fascinating subject all the way around,

    w.

  11. Briggs on 26 December 2013 at 5:06 am said:

    Willis,

    You remind us that scientism’s biggest conceit is to say that whenever there is God there is no science, and wherever there is science there is no God. Yet from where does the existence which science is so anxious to measure arise?

    More on this in the coming year.

    Not sure exactly what “scientism” is to you. Not sure which scientismists you’ve been talking to.

    Me, I wouldn’t ever say that God and science are mutually exclusive in the slightest, as you claim “scientism” believes. So perhaps I’m not scientismatical enough, or maybe I’m just a scientischismatic.

    I would say, however, that God and science are incommensurate … by that I mean that they belong to separate, different domains, and the units of one cannot be used to measure the other. It’s like trying to measure your weight in radians.

    My very best Christmas wishes to you, and thanks for a great site,

    w.

    PS—As to your question, from where does existence arise, I’m going with turtles all the way down. Naw, just kidding. I go with what the scripture says:

    “Reach out your hand if your cup be empty.
    If your cup be full, may it be again.
    Let it be known, there is a fountain
    That was not made by the hands of men.”

    That’s from the Gospel according to the Grateful Dead …

  12. Willis, I’m totally in agreement with you that people believe all sorts of untrue and ridiculous things. So tell me why you say

    And people think that climate skeptics believe six impossible things before breakfast? We’ve got nothing on people who seriously believe they’ve got an invisible pal who likes nothing better than to be told 24/7 just how fantastic and wonderful he is … and who will occasionally, if asked properly, suspend the laws of physics in their behalf. You’ve got to work up to believing whoppers like that, you can’t be an amateur like myself, you need professional training to swallow that whole.

    Even a moderately mature understanding of Xtianity doesn’t accept or promote these cartoon ideas. Are you ascribing them to folks who take the words of Jesus serious enough to work at applying them to their lives? The several “professionally train(ed)” ministers I know reject them out of hand.

    In my experience, words like yours often come from someone who’s “angrified” (source: your self-description in a comment at WUWT). Is that happening here?

  13. Gary on 26 December 2013 at 12:36 pm said:

    Willis, I’m totally in agreement with you that people believe all sorts of untrue and ridiculous things. So tell me why you say

    And people think that climate skeptics believe six impossible things before breakfast? We’ve got nothing on people who seriously believe they’ve got an invisible pal who likes nothing better than to be told 24/7 just how fantastic and wonderful he is … and who will occasionally, if asked properly, suspend the laws of physics in their behalf. You’ve got to work up to believing whoppers like that, you can’t be an amateur like myself, you need professional training to swallow that whole.

    Even a moderately mature understanding of Xtianity doesn’t accept or promote these cartoon ideas. Are you ascribing them to folks who take the words of Jesus serious enough to work at applying them to their lives? The several “professionally train(ed)” ministers I know reject them out of hand.

    Gary, thanks. When I look around me at Xtians, I see people spending days either telling God how absolutely great he is, thanking God for the kohlrabi, or asking God for a handout or a miracle. And that’s all I said that they did.

    If you know ministers who tell people not to glorify God, not to thank God, and not to ask God for things, you know some rare birds. If you know ministers who think that we should not ask for miracles, or think that God doesn’t suspend the laws of physics at least occasionally, I certainly don’t know where you found them.

    Because I can turn on my TV any day of the week and find ministers glorifying, thanking, and asking for miracles at a rate of knots. Your claim, that somehow this is unusual or not going on, doesn’t match up with reality.

    My mom used to write the religion column for the local newspaper. Every Sunday she’d go to a different denomination church and then write about it, and I used to go with her. As a result, I’ve seem the services of many denomination, from the Episcopalians to the Holy Rollers and folks inbetween, and they were all constantly engaged in doing what I stated above—glorifying, testifying, thanking, and asking for miracles. And that doesn’t even mention folks talking in tongues, or everyone praying out loud but different prayers. I’ve seen the gamut of Xtianity.

    So from my perspective, you seem very blinkered about Xtianity as it actually is practiced out in the wilds of Nowherica, while you are quite clear on how it might ought to be practiced. I think the key phrase in your misunderstanding may be “a moderately mature understanding of Xtianity”.

    Because while that is indeed a noble goal, in the US at least, that is certainly not the standard of the industry …

    My thanks, and best Xmas wishes to you,

    w.

  14. Andy on 26 December 2013 at 7:14 am said:

    Trust the atheist to look like an ass on xmas day.

    Thanks, Andy. Gosh, if I were an atheist, I’d be upset to be described in such unflattering terms.

    But since I’m not an atheist, I’m curious—just who are you venting your spleen on?

    Best of the holidays to you, in any case,

    w.

    PS—Did you read what I said above:

    I would say, however, that God and science are incommensurate … by that I mean that they belong to separate, different domains, and the units of one cannot be used to measure the other. It’s like trying to measure your weight in radians.

    Note that I didn’t say “there is no God”, or “God doesn’t exist”, or anything remotely resembling that. I said that God and science exist in different domains.

    Obviously, that means that I think that God exists, so I couldn’t possibly be an atheist.

    To use your words, trust the Xtian to be making false accusations based on a misreading of the written text …

  15. If God wished us to have absolute proof of his existence we would have it since nothing is impossible for him.
    We do not have absolute proof of God’s existence.
    Therefore God does not wish us to have absolute proof of his existence.
    Perhaps we’re supposed to choose.

    And, thank God for Willis! The thinking man’s thinking man. (I wouldn’t have chosen exactly his language but, hey! it’s his choice).

    Also, party on dudes!

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